The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics, thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.

For the Department of Geosciences, Section "Marine Geology" we are looking for a

PhD student


You will carry out paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic reconstructions of the North Pacific region. This work is based on a combination of geochemical and sedimentological analyses of marine sediments, which will be obtained on a planned ship expedition with F.S SONNE to the Northwest Pacific (summer 2018). The expedition, as well as the subsequent scientific investigation of the sample material, will take place as part of a cooperation project together with our partner GEOMAR, Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research, Kiel. The project aims to study atmosphere-ocean interactions and teleconnections between high and low latitudes with a focus on the Pacific Ocean. It is believed that ocean-atmosphere interactions play a key role in atmospheric CO2 variability by controlling the physical parameters of the upper ocean, nutrient utilization and export, deep-water exposure rates, and of nutrients and heat between high and low latitudes. The works to be carried out at AWI focus on the reconstruction of sea surface temperatures and paleo-productivity of marine organisms using various biomarkers (including alkenones, sterols) in sediment cores from the Northwest Pacific. On the other hand, we use various proxy methods (including isotope and trace element analysis of total sediment and benthic foraminifera) to study the variability and dynamics of the deep ocean and its role in the global marine carbon cycle.


The main tasks comprise the reconstruction of spatial and temporal changes of sea surface temperatures in the subpolar North Pacific from organic biomarkers, the biological primary and export productivity, as well as reconstruction of selected biogeochemical characteristics of bathyal to abyssal Pacific water masses using geochemical proxy signatures in benthic foraminferal tests and bulk sediment. The tasks also include the construction of a coherent chronostratigraphy across the sediment cores and the generation of further sedimentological and geochemical data. Further work also includes the supervisison of student assistants and the scientific interaction with internal and external, national and international project participants. The publication of the scientific results in peer-reviewed journals and submission of the PhD thesis at the University of Bremen (Department of Geosciences) are expected.


We require for admission a Master of Science (Diplom) degree in the field of (marine) geosciences or related disciplines, and ideally first publication and presentation experience. Further prerequisites are the aptitude and willingness to participate in the planned North Pacific expedition in July / August 2018. Already existing knowledge in planned analytical methods, or parts thereof, is an advantage or desirable (e.g. particle size analysis, 14C dating of foraminifera carbonate, lipid analysis, GC-MS, ICP-MS). The ability to work in a team and with (inter)national groups, excellent communication skills and outstanding knowledge of English in writing and speech are required. Interest in independent research, the presentation and publication of scientific data at conferences and workshops, as well as good knowledge in dealing with standard computer software (MS Office products, Illustrator, CorelDraw, etc.) are also expected.

Further technical information can be obtained from Dr. Lester Lembke-Jene (, Tel: 0471 4831-1736) and Prof. Dr. Ralf Tiedemann (

The position and is limited to three years and starts as soon as possible. The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes (TVöD Bund), salary level 13 (66 %). The place of employment will be Bremerhaven.

We offer you a multi-disciplinary, international, and fascinating professional environment with flexible working hours, state-of-the-art research equipment, and a first-rate infrastructure. The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family through various means. Because of our engagement in the area of work-life compatibility we have been awarded the certificate "Career and Family".

As Ph.D. student at AWI you will be member of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research 'POLMAR' ( or another graduate school.

Please forward your applications with the standard documentation (a detailed curriculum vitae including previous publications and conference papers, as well as a resume, which sets out your scientific motivation, previous analytical experiences and future scientific interests) by April 2nd 2018 referencing code 57/D/Geo to: Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Personalabteilung (human resources), Postfach 12 01 61, 27515 Bremerhaven/Germany (or by e-mail (all documents merged into a single PDF file) to:

posted: 14 March 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.